Posts Tagged Harmonix
Harmonix, creators of the Rock Band series, have soft-launched Record Run on to the Canadian App Store. You will likely not be surprised to learn that it’s a rhythm-based game, but in a mobile-friendly endless runner format. So, I put on my athletic boogie shoes for this edition of It Came From Canada!
The gist of the game is to dodge obstacles and make it to the end of each level, but that’s oversimplifying things. See, each obstacle is meant to be dodged in time, with more points scored and more of a multiplier boost for timing the jumps, slides, and sideways movements properly. Of course everything is set to music, and players can import their own music to listen to while they play, with the game’s levels synchronized to the music. This does tend to work better with tracks that have a consistent tempo to them: the Animals as Leaders tracks I tried didn’t work so well, but electronic tracks worked a lot better.
Essentially, much like Rock Band, Record Run becomes about maintaining success in order to get high scores and the elusive five-star rating. In particular, continued success is necessary: getting and maintaining high multipliers is key. And they can get really high, I’ve seen as high as 10x, so repetition becomes important. Figuring out when to make swipes is harder once the 3x multiplier is reached, because that’s when the world shifts to its extremely-colorful mode – where the main character transforms into a creature of some sort (the first one available transforms into a flaming skeleton), and the world dances to the music. But most importantly, the indicators for when to swipe go away, and players are on their own as for when they have to.
Record Run is monetized through the standard two-tier currency, with records being used for upgrades, and backstage passes as the hard currency used for unlocking additional song slots and additional characters. It will be interesting to see how well the game monetizes: when I spoke with Harmonix at GDC, they gave off the attitude that they were just jumping in feet-first with this sort of free-to-play game, so balancing everything could take some time. I expect some sort of daily challenge incentive to be added as well, along with perhaps an energy system – the game is fairly simple and would be most rewarding perhaps through a system that conditions the game to be played in short bursts. So, before it launches worldwide, it could have a long way to go, and could still change a lot.
Last week’s release of Rock Band 3 pushed the platform’s total number of songs well above 2,000. And with the company pushing to get 5,000 songs into the setlist over the coming years, trying to keep that many tracks straight can be quite a challenge. Thankfully, much like everything else in the world, there’s an app for that with third-party developers Three Brothers creating a sortable list of Rock Band music.
This free app allows users to organize songs based on artist, song, version or even difficulty. So if you remember there’s that one bluegrass song that’s ridiculously hard in Rock Band but can’t think of its name then this little wonder will handily tell you that it’s “Green Grass and High Tides” which completely wrecked your fingers. Of course there’s a big fear that the app will quickly grow outdated due to the ever-expanding musical lineup, but the developers are promising monthly updates to keep the library totally up to date.
Perhaps the most devious inclusion of all is the ability to preview or purchase songs with a single click, allowing you to play a song in Rock Band and then immediately head over to your iPhone or iPod and add the track to your musical library. Just remember that just because you feel nostalgic and hip playing Smashmouth’s “Walkin’ on the Sun” right now doesn’t mean you’ll still want to hear it in a month. Just ask the late ’90s about that.
The app iss available right now and, as mentioned before, it’s totally free. If you’re a Rock Band fan who’s tired of scrolling through the menus trying to find a particular song then try out this handy little solution. And we already apologize for how your bank account will soon be emptied from buying all this music.